have changed since the Master of Order battled with
the Mistress of Chaos in the days of Archon.
The old wellsprings of magic are now failing and a new
breed of wizard, the Adept, has emerged. Controlling
previously unsummoned armies of demons and elementals,
they have forced the age-old war to take a new turn.
The battlefield of the new age is displayed on the screen
as a diagrammatic representation of the four elements,
earth, water, air and fire. Each one is shown as a different
coloured band surrounding the latter. Just to complicate
matters, midway along each of the horizontal bands representing
air are two black areas. These are voids. Their importance
to the game becomes relevant later. Six power points
move across corners of the board during play. Controlling
these is imperative because they supply the energy necessary
for the adepts to use magic and fight, the only means
by which one can win the game.
side has a citadel in their half of the Earth section.
This remains vacant throughout the game, except when
one side or another casts the Apocalypse spell (the
consequences of which ore dealt with below). At key
points across the board, highlighted magical strong
points exist. These must be controlled to ensure a constant
supply of magical energy. The four adepts each side
possesses are identical in appearance, but each one
is particularly suited to one or another of the elements.
They may magically transport themselves anywhere across
the board, but operate best in their own areas.
Archon arms race -- Chaos and Order
prepare for battle.
adept can also draw on an arsenal of spells. These are
Summon (which calls upon one of a selection of
creatures that may be placed anywhere within the summoner's
elemental territory); Heal which brings any wounded
adept or creature up to full strength; Weaken which
dons the opposite but only works on creatures; Imprison
which incapacitates any creature; Release sets
the imprisoned character free (continual imprisonment
of a character causes a constant drain on energy, so
setting a prisoner free is necessary at some point).
Banish may be used to eliminate any summoned
creature. Finally there's the Apocalypse spell.
This sets the showdown for the two sides by pitting
one adept against the other inside a citadel. In the
main, this is used to finish off a depleted army or
as a desperate last stand.
monsters vary for each of the two forces. Both sides
can summon demons. The juggernaut is a demonic missile,
invulnerable to everything except the song of the siren
(one of the creatures of chaos). The wraith feeds on
the life force of its opponents and remains invisible
for most of the time. The Gorgon kills its victims by
increasing degrees of paralysis, whilst the deadly chimera
breathes fire, snorts poison gas and stings like a scorpion.
skirmish in the elemental plane of fire. And
chaos seems to be doing very well thankyou!
of chaos are the behemoth who whilst being slow, has
a punch like Julian Rignall's (see ZZAP! 13's cover);
the siren, who's haunting voice whittles away her opponent's
life force (a la Tina Turner); the ifrit -- a
portable whirlwind and a firebird whose weapons and
armour consist of a sphere of flame. The creatures available
to the adepts of order are the giant, a Liddonesque
rock thrower; the kraken, a gigantic octopus; the thunderbird,
an airborne missile launcher, and the fireball-firing
of the game is played on the strategic board, where
adepts and monsters are manipulated to control most
of the vantage points. Summoned monsters must stay in
the territory they were summoned from or move into the
adjacent square in the next element. They are always
stronger in their own squares, however. They may move
as far as they like until they encounter an enemy. When
this happens, the contested square expands to the full
sire of the screen, complete with suitable terrain.
The opposing icons are then plunged into combat, each
taking advantage of its particular weaponry. At the
sides of the screen each icon's life force is displayed
as a bar which decreases as wounds are inflicted. After
either icon uses its weapon, there is a pause whilst
power is generated to use the weapon again. The end
of this interval is indicated by a bell tone -- low
tone for chaos and high tone for order. The battle continues
until one of the creatures has been eliminated.
are, as you might expect, complications. The two void
squares are the only places where magic energy supplies
always exist, but magic does not actually work in them
so they are difficult to control. Spells have maximum
and minimum strengths and the amount of energy required
to cast them is shown during the spell selection process.
The power with which a spell is cast affects the outcome
as a result of this.
game also has its problems. It is best played as a two-player
game. There are no skill levels and the computer is
such a good player, an awful lot of practice is required
before a victory may be gained against it. Then there's
the question of the apocalypse spell. No matter how
well the game is going for you, if the other side uses
this spell the outcome of the whole game depends on
which player is better with a joystick over the next
few seconds. The game can end too abruptly without rewarding
good strategy. In a two-player game, I suggest you reach
an agreement with your opponent not to use this spell